Saturday, March 24, 2012

REVIEW: 21 Jump Street

You know what? I'm too old for that Sh*t! Since we're talking about rehashing the 80s, it's completely à propos that I should express it. There's a good comedy in there somewhere, but it tries much too hard to both be self-conscious and cater to double-standards of demographics; those who grew-up with the show and want to dwell back in it a bit, and those who love the Apatow-crewesque onslaught of crude humor. I feel terrible for saying I hated it because it's not as terrible as I expected it would be. But  at the end of the day I disliked it greatly, probably because age turned me into Murtaugh.

The film follow a former high school nerdy loser and a former high school star jock who become friends at the police academy and partner after graduation (there's a missed gag right there, if you want to trash the 80s - get the Goot as the instructor for crying out loud!). And since those two are lethal weapons of a different kind, their chief ditches them into a revival of an 80s operation because no one has any original idea anymore so they just rehash stuff from the 80s. I swear to God they say that verbatim in the movie. So those two are sent to high school to snif out the makers of a lethal new drug, but the unthinkable awaits them: nerds are cool now, and jocks are just jocks. One of them gets to live his dream, to other gets to learn valuable lessons. Dear God....

The Good
There is some of it. None of it belongs to Jonah Hill, who should keep to support roles and let others write his dialogs in order to be invited back to the Oscars. The good belongs to Channing Tatum who continues to surprise me every time he does something that doesn't rhyme with "Beehive Schmoe". The dude's got real comedic chops and great timing, and knows better than to try and steal the show; he's a great sounding board for a co-star with greater comedic pedigree and I really hope the Coen Brothers are reading this so they can keep him in mind when they eventually return to funny movies.

The Bad
They just try so hard to be cynical it peels the paint off the wall. Like casting Ice Cube as a commentary on black stereotyping in movies by having him be the most annoying jive talking black guy since Chris Tucker met Brett Ratner. And Tucker shines in comparison. Same for the cracks at how comic books are now cool and the environment is hip. And how someone having his penis cut off is even funnier when he picks it up in his mouth because his hands are tied (it's not suggested, you actually see the poor thing lying there on the ground than in the guy's mouth). The film would've benefited someone wise and humble like Charlie Sheen telling them they're just making fool of themselves. Most of the gags fell flat and forced, and without Tatum's charming oaf it would've been downright boring too.

"I Pity the fool who makes a Mister T joke. I do"

The Ugly
I didn't expect Jonah Hill's writing to be on par with Jane Austen, but having the film's declaration that true manhood is attained by having the courage to shoot someone (in the privates, no less) felt strangely perverse and outdated. And akin to Palin, if I may take a swipe at my favorite hypocrite. The weirdest thing though ***BEWARE - I'M ABOUT TO SPOIL A CAMEO BY JOHNNY DEPP*** is a cameo by... Johnny Depp who pops as undercover agent Tom Hanson from the original show. And gets killed. Still can't figure out if he was paying tribute to the show that put him on the map, or simply flipping the bird at the biggest stain in his career. In any case, it just felt wrong to see him stoop that low. Richard Grieco though, it's always appropriate to make fun of him.

I'll admit it wasn't as horrible as I thought it would come out, but it's by no stretch of the mind a great comedy and will thankfully be forgotten fast as one more bad remake that nobody asked for. But it might also be the one to show Channing Tatum is much more than the dumb action star of a bad Stephen Sommers blockbuster.

Final Word: 4.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment